How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE


*Applause, Applause*


I wrote my About Page four years ago today. It appears I’m off the radar at WordPress, however, because no notification of my blogoversary has arrived yet. Woe is me. NO matter.

It’s been an exciting time and I count myself most fortunate to have met so many fascinating bloggers. Some of you have stuck with me from the beginning to present day. Yes, it took time to meet one at a time, but I’m exhilarated to be a part of this kind and nurturing community.

At last I’m writing thanks to the discovery of Word Press and blogging. I hope with time I learn and improve this amazing and fulfilling craft. You have been most generous in your support and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Credit: Microsoft PP Slide art

Credit: Microsoft PP Slide art

This anniversary seems the perfect opportunity to celebrate you, and to go on hiatus. I haven’t been firing on all pistons of late and need to rejuvenate. Instead of whining, it’s time I do something about it. I plan to clean up and complete impatient writing projects for which I’ve had neither time nor energy, and to add new ones.

See you in September, kids. Wish me luck. It feels strange to cut myself off for the summer, but I’m doing it because I must. I miss you already.

Credit:  AK47bandit


100-Word Challenge for Grownups -Week 157

Check out below, on how it’s done and come on down:

This week’s prompt is … at last we were free… + 100 words


A New Page

Trina had to pull herself together. I need a cold shower. She pounded on her roommate’s bedroom door. Quiet as a tomb.

“Sarah. Wake up.” Trina squinted at the clock down the hall. “Come on, kiddo.” She gave the door another whack and proceeded to the bathroom and turned the water on. Then off. Odd. She paused. Blinked. And retraced her steps. “Time to sober up.” She turned the knob. “It’s Graduation Day. Remember we said we were free to start… Sarah…? A new page for the rest of our lives?

“You’re so cold.”

Oh. My. God.

Where’s my cell? “I need an ambulance. Hurry-please!”

The End

© 2015 Tess and How the Cookie Crumbles All Rights Reserved


#BlogBattle – Week 16

You ought to check out Rachel’s blog below, for the rules and join in:

The prompt this week is …spaghetti… + up to 1,000 words

Spaghetti and Tomato Sauce

Lois packed an overnight bag. She hadn’t been away from little Ryan since his birth almost 18 months earlier. There was no alternative; she had to go. One last check: cosmetics, extra socks, a change of clothes, toothbrush. Everything else she’d borrow from her mother. She took a deep breath, zipped and carted the bag to the front door where she dropped it.

“Parker, I’ve loaded the dishwasher and set the timer.” Hands on narrow hips, she glared at the newspaper concealing her husband in the living-room. “Parker!”

The rustle of paper shuffling broke the tense silence. “You say something?” He lowered the paper to reveal watery blue eyes, one eye engrossed in the print and the other flickered in her direction.

“I know neither of us is happy with this situation, but I have to go.”

“Why can’t one of your lady friends look after Ryan?” The paper rose by millimeters creating a wall again.

Lois marched to the Easy Boy and flattened the paper to her husband’s knees. “Look, I’d take him with me if I could, but my hands will be full. My mother needs me.”

He folded the pages and dropped the bundle on the floor. “Don’t be like that. We’ll manage. Just one night, right?”

“I’ll be back by lunchtime or mid-afternoon. You’ve read the instructions. Any last minute questions? He’s a little boy and an easy kid. You won’t have any trouble.”

* * *

The next day, Lois rolled into her driveway tired, but happy. Her mother’s tests had gone well. Hair pulled in a ponytail hinted of not too distant younger days instead of her current 35 years. She retrieved her paraphernalia from the trunk and scanned the neighborhood. So good to be home. The smell of fall already hung in the air though the trees hadn’t changed color yet. Laugh lines engaged, she hummed to herself as she strode to the front door.



“What th…” Lois kicked off her shoes and dropped her bags. Ryan never kicked up a fuss. She dashed towards the howl in the kitchen. Her jaw dropped. The kitchen had been redecorated in red noodles. Both father and son were covered in spaghetti and tomato sauce as well.

“Come on, little man. You like this sh—stuff. Yum-yum.” The baby’s hand collided with the spoon and sent it flying in his mother’s direction. She stepped back in time to avoid a splatter. “Thank gawd you’re home. Look, Mommy’s home, Ryan. Isn’t that nice?”

“Mama-Mama.” Grubby fingers working, chubby arms stretched to reach across the distance.

Ryan wriggled and crawled from the center of the kitchen table, sauce and spaghetti stuck all around him, his little face covered from his hairline downwards. Only his eyeballs appeared untainted. His mother snatched him before he reached the edge. A giggle bubbled up her throat, then grew to an enormous belly laugh as his gummy cheek stuck to hers. Parker sucked in a quick breath and chuckled too. The boy pulled back, eyes wide as he examined his parents and put a gooey hand to his mouth and joined in. Lois pointed a finger at her husband’s head and hooted. “You have more food on your head than hair.”

“Mama-mama.” Ryan rocked himself in his mother’s arms, thumb already in his mouth.

“Mommy’s home, baby. Let’s clean you up. It’s past your nap-time.” Lois ruffled his thin blond hair not unlike his father’s.

“I guess I’ll start on the kitchen.” Parker ducked his head and made a clucking noise.

“One question. Why didn’t you put him into the highchair?”

“He fought like a tiger—arms and legs spun like a propeller. He’s a strong little kid.”

“What’s for lunch? I’m starving?”

“Oh. A can of soup and a bun okay?

“See you in a bit, I’m dying to hear about your time together.”

* * *

Changed and showered, Ryan asleep, Lois poured a coffee in the sticky kitchen. “The stained laundry is ruined. By the way, what did you do with the soiled diapers? They’re not in the diaper pail.”

“Phe-ew. I didn’t know what to do with them, but I had to get them out of the house.”

Eyebrows raised to sharp peeks, she set her mug on the table. Parker squirmed in his seat, a flush rushed from his neck to his ears like a bruise. He twisted the mug in his hands.

“I’ve never been alone with Ryan before. I had to think of something fast.” He rubbed the back of his neck, looking everywhere but at his wife. “What do you do with them?”

She sat back in her chair arms folded and head tilted. “I told you. They all go into the diaper pail. What did you do?”

“I buried them in the backyard.”

“Wha— Maybe you ought to bury all the spaghetti stained clothing as well.”

The End

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.



Homeward Bound

Breakfast was a disappointment again:  no fresh buns, dry, squashed croissants, and small stale Danish. I loaded up on cantaloupe, watermelon and pineapple, a piece of toast, and coffee. I decided not to gorge on our last day.

After breakfast Ernesto and his wife took the elevator with two Chinese businessmen. It stopped partway and wouldn’t budge. One of the businessmen began to sweat, his face beet red. Ernesto’s wife hit the red button and someone answered at once with instructions, but nothing worked. After a moment or two—that’s all it took—the elevator stirred to everyone’s relief, especially the Chinese man.

* * *

Time to leave for the airport, Sue and I towed our luggage to the elevator at 8:25 a.m. It appeared too full, but the occupants  insisted we get on. The elevator stopped at almost every floor and with much shifting more people squeezed on. I laughed because this felt like the Volkswagen commercial where endless lines of people pile in. Nobody thought the elevator was too full to get on and no-one decided to wait for the next one. By the time we’d reached the first floor, we had enough Chinese people to start our own small village with a population of a million or two.

* * *

After we’d settled at our boarding gate at the airport, Sue and I went in search of bottled water to take on the plane. Before boarding, we passed through another security check, opened our bags and carry-ons, and lost the untouched water. Other passengers had had the same idea and were robbed of their bottles as well. A female passenger, who’d boarded our plane, argued with the stewardess.

“There should be a sign if we’re not allowed to bring water on board.”

“Madam, we are not allowed to do that in Hong Kong.”

“Well, how was I supposed to know my new water bottle will be confiscated?”

“You will know for next time.”


The overall flight seemed better than the one into China. My eyes didn’t itch nor burn from lack of sleep. By 1:00 a.m. breakfast was served, but I wasn’t hungry. I had half the omelette, had a taste of the anemic pork sausage and two toonie-sized hash brown coins. The drinks cart came around once. I would have loved more coffee and finally, a second offer was made.

I watched a lot of movies, and read a complete book I’d borrowed from one of our group. We finally arrived in Chicago and didn’t have to wait five hours to get on a flight home.

I tried wifi without success. We waited. The plane before us had been delayed; the passengers moved to another gate after much dithering. The clock ticked past our boarding time. No information was offered. Finally another gate became available. We were 35 minutes late boarding. Thank goodness we didn’t have to run to the other end of the airport, but I worried about the arranged limo we’d paid for to pick us up in Toronto.

The aircraft was puny: two seats on either side of a narrow aisle, not unlike the one we had taken from Toronto to Chicago at the beginning of our trip. The door closed and then, nothing. We waited. The passengers shifted in their seats and looked at each other across the aisle.

1st announcement:

“We need to fuel up so we have enough gas to get you to To-ron-to”

2nd announcement:

“We’re trying to locate the guy who’s supposed to fill us up.”

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

(Is that enough fuel? Are you kidding?)  Credit: Wikimedia Commons 

3rd announcement:

“He went to the wrong…”


My heart danced the Nitty Gritty. So close to home—yet would we even make it?  The air in the cabin grew stale and stifling. Susan’s stomach had been queasy while we were still in the airport. I now had a scratchy throat and stuffed sinuses.

Credit:  SOUL of the North : tolpuddleman’s channel

* * *

The plane arrived in one piece but we had to walk across the tarmac to the airport. I felt like a rag doll nobody cared about. Toronto airport is huge; it isn’t easy nor forgiving. There are no walkalators nor airport treadmills. We trudged for miles.

I noticed something interesting at the baggage carrousel. A female police officer and a sniffer dog checked the incoming luggage. I’d have expected a German shepherd, instead a beagle named Lucy sniffed away.

Credit: Google Images

Credit: Google Images

We waited about five minutes for the limo driver. The deal was if the plane didn’t arrive on time, the driver would only wait for an hour. Phew!

Soon we sped towards home- sweet-home, my great adventure over.

~ * ~

For more related posts, click on China tab at the top of the page

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.


Five Star Treatment – Little Bell and the Moon by Giles Paley-Phillips

Let's CUT the Crap!:

What child doesn’t love rhyming tales? I think the art is delightful with more of the same inside.

Originally posted on Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life:


I believe that children should be able to hold their first books in their hands to flip the pages and marvel at the illustrations as they absorb the words slowly and fully. It is amazing to watch a young toddler with a touch screen. To witness the facility and the speed with which they master this technology so prominent in their future. But, I know from my own use of an E-reader, that it is tempting to speed through the screens and glance rather than absorb the contents.

So I am delighted to have been asked to review a hardback children’s book by Giles Paley-Phillips who I first interviewed in my home town of Portsmouth. He has six wonderful books available that can be held and enjoyed by children of all ages, and his own young family are extremely lucky to get bedtime stories first hand.

About the book.

View original 534 more words


100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week 156


Check out:

Prompt this week is the picture below + 100 words

100 WordChallenge 156

Prompt: (Photo credit: Thomas Zimmerman)


Jake gawked over a shoulder and grasped his grown son’s arm. After the suffocating hush, the rumble unsettled him. The funnel growled towards them—furious, voracious, writhing.

He hollered above the roar not unlike a jet engine. “We need a hole, a ditch…” Will scanned the field and pointed to the shack. “No.”

“…no choice, Dad.” They hit the ground and crawled, grasping dirt and weeds, battling the force of the punishing wind. “Root cellar!” 

Wind whooshed through the matchstick structure. “Ewe.” Will puked. “What died in here?”

“Tuck facedown into the wall, son. Cover your head.”

 * * *

“You okay, Will?”


© 2015 Tess and How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.


#BlogBattle – Week 15

Originator of this challenge:

This  week’s prompt is …rage… + up to  1,000 words


The new neighbors arrived Saturday morning. Four screaming kids exploded out of the beat up van, voices shrill in the quiet street. Harry powered off and leaned on the handle of his lawnmower. He reached for the cigarette tucked behind his ear and lit up. A plump blonde slid off the passenger seat, pouty mouth streaked blood red. As the brood of kids, all under eleven or twelve, tore up and down the lawn and driveway, a reedy scarecrow of a man appeared at the back of the van and proceeded to unload luggage and cardboard boxes.

“Don’t just stand there, Louise. Open the damn door and come back help me.”

“Can I have the key first?” Her hand snaked forward, palm open.

“Oh for crikey sake. I gave it to you already.” Glass rattled in the box he plunked on the ground.

“Nope. Check your pockets.”

“Don’t give me no lip. I said— You must have slipped it into my pocket. Here— You’re ticking me off woman.”

Harry smoked the last of his cigarette, stared at the grass at his feet and then, across the road. The kids huddled together in a tight knot, quiet now, the girl half a head taller than the tallest boy. The squeal of bad brakes shattered the short-lived silence. A box-like moving van lumbered up the street and stopped in front of the empty house. A lanky twenty-something male jumped out of the passenger’s side and sprinted up the driveway.

“We need to back into the driveway, so’s we can get started? Okay?”

“Can’t you see I’m unloading here?” Scarecrow man spit a gob on the driveway, his hands in tight fists.

“I’ll help.” The young man gawked over his shoulder at the driver.

Harry crushed his smoke in the grass, dropped the butt into his shirt pocket and started up his mower. The rusty van drew up in front of his house, but he ignored it. One more pass and he was done. Turning on his heel, he headed to the backyard.

“The new neighbors have arrived.”

“Oh, yeah? What are they like? Any kids?” She stopped weeding and sat back on her heels, shading her eyes against the sun.

“In a word, trouble—with four kids.”

 * * *

After supper, Harry took out the garbage as usual, snapping the lid on tight and secure. The summer sun slid lower behind the garage. A screeching and wailing rent the air over scraping utensils across dirtied plates inside his house. His head snapped in the direction of the ugly noise. The girl pulled on youngest brother, the other two shadowed them out the side door. Hands in his pocket, Harry ambled down the drive as if deep in thought, an eye on the kids. The van still parked in front of his house afforded a clear view up the empty driveway.

“You don’t tell me nothing. You hear.”

Crash. Smash!

“Stop it. You’re hurting me. Let go.” The woman howled like a banshee.

The kids shuffled away from the door as one, the girl’s arms enclosing her brothers. At that moment Harry caught her eye. She lifted her chin high and turned away. Harry marched towards the house as his wife, a frozen grimace on her face and eyes wide, rushed out the door.

“I’m surprised nobody’s called the cops yet. Call them.” No sooner had the door slammed behind them when a siren moaned in the distance and stopped. Then, again. Closer this time. Two car doors slammed shut. Harry hurried outside as had all the residents on the street.

The police cruiser blocked the bottom of the drive. One burly uniform rushed to the door. The other corralled the children to the cruiser. “Stay inside. I’ll be back.” He rushed towards the house.

“What are you doing in my house? Get out!”

“Sir. Calm down.”

“Ma’am, are you all right? Let’s go into the other room.”

“Don’t tell me calm down. This is my house. You get out.” The words exploded in a guttural roar. Harry, as well as the curious on-lookers disappeared inside their houses.

“Your rage isn’t helping anyone. Hey! Put down that knife, sir. I said. Put. It. Down. Now.”

* * *

An officer on either side strong-arming him, scarecrow man in handcuffs tugged this way and that, and screamed obscenities spittle flying every which way. The woman, Louise, flew out of the house brandishing an umbrella and whacked her husband on the head before one of the uniforms grabbed it from her. ”Pick on women and innocent children will you. Don’t you never come back, you hear?”

“Mommy, mommy.” Her children ran into her open arms. “Shh-shh. It’s going to be okay.”

The girl stepped back first. “I can’t live like this anymore. Yelling, screaming, no groceries, always moving in the night. This isn’t a good life for us kids.”

“It’s okay, Sweetie Pie. I have the keys to the van. We’ll leave tonight.”

“I’m not going. I want clean clothes, a clean bed, regular food and a normal kid’s life.” Two fingers of each raised hand wiggled to suggest apostrophes. “We’re not coming with you.”

“That’s nonsense.” Louse blinked and rubbed an eye smudging the already runny mascara. “We need to get some clothes and things. Come on. Help me.”

“I am not going into that house ever again. We’ll wait out here.”

The three boy nodded like dashboard bobble heads. Louise stared at her daughter with narrowed eyes. “I’ll be right back. Forget the junk inside. I’ll get my purse. One moment.”

As soon as the door slammed behind her, the kids hoofed it across the road to Harry’s house. They didn’t knock. They simply slipped inside.

A voice outside screeched. “Where are my children?” Curtains swayed up and down the street. Louise twisted around a time or two, threw back her shoulders and scurried towards the van.

The End

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.


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